Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said he met with House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Anak Kalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor on Wednesday night during a birthday dinner of Sen. Bong Revilla where they made an effort to sort things out.
Migz Zubiri FB Page
Senate, House agree to end spat on ‘pork’
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - September 27, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives have agreed on a “ceasefire” on their word war over alleged ”pork” in the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for next year.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said he met with House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Anak Kalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor on Wednesday night during a birthday dinner of Sen. Bong Revilla where they made an effort to sort things out.

Defensor earlier called for the scrapping of the Senate budget after Sen. Panfilo Lacson uncovered an alleged scheme where deputy speakers allegedly allocated themselves P1.5 billion in projects. House members were the supposed recipients of P700 million worth of projects each in the proposed national budget.

“We agreed to have a ceasefire because individual members of the Senate and the House have criticized one another. It does not represent the institution. It does not represent the House of Representatives nor does it represent the Philippine Senate,” Zubiri told reporters.

 “We have to work together to pass the budget. So I’m hoping that cooler heads will prevail,” he added.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he would see what happens when the chamber receives the General Appropriations Bill from the House.

 Lacson said he has no issue with Zubiri’s initiative, but stressed this would not stop him from looking for pork in the proposed outlay.

Lacson said the Senate has ample time to verify the statements of House leaders that the proposed budget was pork-free.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon slammed the supposedly anomalous budget process at the House of Representatives as he vowed to scrutinize the P4.1-trillion spending bill for 2020 that the lower chamber passed recently.

Drilon called out the House’s plan to introduce individual amendments to the spending bill even though the lawmakers had approved the measure on third and final reading on Sept. 20.

“Totally anomalous. I do not think that is the procedure. To set the record straight, it is the printed copy that is voted on third reading and there is supposed to be no more amendments,” Drilon said.

The House has approved the realignment of some P9.5 billion in funds in the proposed national budget for next year.

Apology

More House members yesterday joined the call for Lacson to issue an apology after he alleged that the lower chamber had planned to insert an additional P1.5 billion in funds for each of the 22 deputy speakers and P700 million to 300 members.

Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera and DIWA party-list Rep. Michael Aglipay agreed with their colleagues that Lacson should apologize for his false allegation.

Earlier, Capiz Rep. Fred Castro and Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. demanded an apology from Lacson, who dismissed the call.

Lacson chided Castro for saying that he thinks like a child, which he said is better than “thinking like an adult who partakes of pork from taxpayers’ money.”

The House of Representatives wants the P3.8-trillion national budget for this year to be valid up to next year.

“We want the validity of most appropriations in the 2019 budget extended up to next year due to the delay in the enactment of the outlay early this year and the procurement and project implementation ban related to last May’s elections,” Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, appropriations committee chairman, said yesterday. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Jess Diaz, Edu Punay

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE NATIONAL BUDGET SENATE
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with